Wildcats come up short in Saturday contest.
Briana Fujii leads the team with three of Villanova's six hits.
Mia Brickhouse will compete with U.S. Women's National Team at 2013 World Championship.
Wildcat softball 2013 season preview.
Villanova will look to newcomers to fill the holes left by graduation.
Villanova makes its home debut in the conference opener against Georgetown
Head coach Maria DiBernardi enters her 33rd season at the helm of the Villanova Softball program in 2016-17. Throughout her 30 plus years on the Main Line, she has compiled an impressive 818-714-10 record. DiBernardi has spent all of her coaching career at Villanova and is the winningest coach in school history over that time. Last season, DiBernardi earned her 800th career win as a coach in an 8-7 victory against St. John’s on April 2, 2016.
The 2016 campaign was a memorable one, as the team won 17 straight games and qualified for the BIG EAST Tournament with a 32-18 overall record and a 14-6 conference record. Under DiBernardi’s guidance, Kate Poppe was named the 2016 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and Lauren Hanna received the 2016 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year award.
DiBernardi registered her 750th career victory on Mar. 8th, 2014 as the Wildcats came back to knock-off Boston University 5-3 at the Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla. She notched her 700th win in the 2012 season on March 9th when Villanova defeated USC Upstate, 2-1. DiBernardi earned her 600th career victory on April 22, 2007 when her Wildcats posted a 1-0 shutout over conference rival Providence on the road. She reached her 650th victory on Feb. 21, 2010 in a victory over North Florida.
The Wildcats had a stellar season in 2010 with three All-BIG EAST selections in Danielle Maricle, Valerie Ortega and Amanda Marquez. DiBernardi also returned Villanova to the BIG EAST Tournament for the first time since the 2005 season as the Wildcats entered that tournament on a nine-game regular season winning streak. Molly Manning also earned second team All-Mideast region honors for her play in the 2010 season. In 2009, DiBernardi saw Meghan Morese named to the first team All-Mideast Region squad and break the Villanova home run record early in the 2009 season. Morese graduated with 34 homeruns throughout her four seasons at Villanova.
DiBernardi has guided the Wildcats to 15 BIG EAST Tournaments since they began in 1990. Twice the Wildcats advanced to the title game (1993, 2003), emerging as runners-up both times. She led the Wildcats to three 40-plus win seasons in 1999, 2001 and 2002. DiBernardi served as the president of the BIG EAST Conference Softball Committee for four years, from 1997-2000.
She is active in numerous camps and instructional clinics throughout the greater Philadelphia area, including Villanova Fastpitch Softball Camps held at Villanova throughout the year. DiBernardi has also coached at the Keystone State Games in the over-18 fast pitch division, winning two gold medals and two silver medals. In 2002, DiBernardi’s own athletic accomplishments were recognized as she was named to Norristown’s All-Time Team for the 20th Century as a pitcher and was honored as Co-Player of the 20th Century.
DiBernardi was also named 3rd Team All-American at the 1990 ASA National Tournament. DiBernardi has focused on success both on the field and in the classroom throughout her coaching career. Through this philosophy, DiBernardi has produced 73 BIG EAST All-Conference Players and 265 BIG EAST All-Academic team selections. The 2008 Wildcats were named an NFCA All-Academic team for having finished the season with a combined GPA of 3.238. Villanova ranked 41st out of 103 schools on the list.
DiBernardi is a 1985 graduate of Immaculata College and holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She has one daughter, Deanna, who graduated from Yale University in 2009 with an Electrical Engineering degree. She was a pitcher on the Yale Softball team. Her brother John attended Villanova as an undergraduate and then moved on to the Villanova Law School. Her sister, Danine was an All-American field hockey player at Villanova in 1984. DiBernardi resides with her husband, Jim, who was a Villanova graduate in Newtown Square, Pa